Last season was Thomas Morgenstern’s most successful in his career to date. With six victories in a row, the 21-year-old Austrian posted a new record and won the overall ski jumping World Cup. In an interview he talks about studying stress, new goals and the Summer Grand Prix.
For the first time you started your summer holidays as the overall World Cup winner. Did you enjoy your vacation more because of it?
I was a bit more easy-going because I reached my season goal with the overall World Cup victory. But apart from that, nothing has changed much. Because I’ve also been successful before as well, the degree of popularity wasn’t greater and I was familiar with the whole commotion.
One thing has changed, though, your post career plans.
It was interesting to work as a policeman but it was new ground for me, and learning the paragraphs by heart is not really my thing. The pilot course is more flexible. I still have to do all the lectures and exams but I can organize the course around my training better.
How far are you from completing your flying license?
Mid September is the exam. But before that I have to do the radio frequency test and also the theory and practical parts of the course. I’ve still got quite a bit of time ahead of me to spend in front of the books.
Sounds like a lot of work. Before you train, don’t you ever think, ‘Why am I doing all this when I’ve already achieved everything in sport’?
No, I’m too young to think that, and I still have a lot of goals. The overall title in the Four Hills Tournament is still missing from my collection; and I don’t have the individual World Champion title yet, either. But I’d like that to change in the coming season. I’ve got good memories of the jump in Liberec – after all, that’s where I won my first World Cup event. Perhaps that’s also where I’ll win my individual World Champion title.
The team is going about preparation very differently this year. For example with an improvisation theater workshop. What has that got to do with ski jumping?
In improvisation theater you have to be able to react to different situations very quickly. It’s also like that in ski jumping because you have to be able to adapt to the various jumps and conditions, and also react immediately. I’ve definitely learned one or two helpful tricks through doing the course.
At the beginning of training your drive was interrupted by a ligament injury. Does that still restrict you?
No, I don’t have any problems with that any more. I fell over playing soccer and then had to take it easy for a few days.
Last year you won the Summer GP and then dominated the overall World Cup. What are you expecting this year from the Summer GP?
Winning the competition a third time would be a great way to start the season. But I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. Last season I wanted to win come what may because Jakub Janda and Adam Malysz had won the Summer-GP in the years prior, and were then successful in winter. I imagined that I had to win in summer in order to pick up the overall World Cup as well.